Testing the Integration of an Empirically-supported Teacher Consultation Model and a Social-emotional Learning and Literacy Intervention in Urban Elementary Schools
Co-Principal Investigator: Jason Downer (University of Virginia)
Purpose: In recent years, efforts to improve student academic outcomes have expanded to incorporate a focus on children’s social and emotional well-being and competencies as a path to success in school. The 4Rs+MTP program represents the systematic integration of two distinct programs, Reading Writing, Respect and Resolution (4Rs) and MyTeachingPartner (MTP), that was supported by an IES Goal 2 Development and Innovation award. The 4Rs+MTP program supports teachers in their implementation of the 4Rs curriculum by using ongoing, video-based feedback from trained staff developers guided by systematic and focused observations of classroom interactions using the Classroom Assessment Scoring System to support student learning. The purpose of this study is to rigorously test whether and which kinds of teachers, classrooms and students benefit from 4Rs+MTP, and explore the mechanisms by which those benefits occur. The year-long program is expected to improve teachers’ psychological processes and well-being – as well as classroom interactions – which in turn are expected to impact students’ social and emotional competencies and literacy and academic skills.
Project Activities: The research team will randomly assign elementary schools to 4Rs+MTP or a business-as-usual control to determine whether the program improves teacher, classroom and student outcomes. Teachers and their students in third and fourth grade classrooms will be recruited at each participating school. Assessments include teacher self-report surveys, observational and videotaped ratings of classroom interactions, teacher surveys on students, student self-reports, and student school records. Assessment occurs in the fall and spring of the intervention year, and continuing third grade teachers with their new cohort of third grade students are again assessed in the fall and spring following the intervention year.
Products: The products of this project will be evidence of the efficacy of the 4Rs+MTP program for third and fourth grade teachers’ psychological well-being, classroom interactions, and their student’s social and emotional competencies and academic achievement. Peer reviewed publications will also be produced.
Setting: This study takes place in elementary schools located in New York City.
Sample: Participants for this study include approximately 400 teachers and 7,900 students in third and fourth grade classrooms across 66 schools.
Intervention: Reading, Writing, Respect and Resolution (4Rs) is a universal intervention that integrates social and emotional competencies into the language arts curriculum from kindergarten through fifth grade. The 4Rs curriculum consists of seven units that focus on building skills and understanding around handling anger, listening, assertiveness, cooperation, negotiation, mediation, and building community to be implemented across the school year (approximately one lesson per week). Each unit begins with the teacher reading aloud a children’s book that introduces the main theme of the unit, followed by classroom activities including discussion, writing, role-playing and lessons focused on development of conflict resolution and social-emotional skills related to the unit’s theme. MyTeachingPartner (MTP) uses coaching to support curriculum implementation by providing teachers with ongoing, personalized feedback and support centered on teacher-student interactions. Teachers have access to an interactive website with video exemplars of teaching practices and one-on-one, video-based coaching that utilizes the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) to provide a shared, standardized framework for defining and observing classroom interactions. In the prior IES Development project, MTP coaching was adapted, aligned, and integrated with the existing 4Rs curriculum design, goals, and focus. In this Efficacy study, teachers in 4Rs+MTP schools will attend a 4Rs Introductory Course (36 hours over six sessions), receive three start-of-school visits by staff developers, participate in eight bi-weekly, video-based feedback cycles during the school year, and have access to web-based resources. 4Rs+MTP staff developers will receive training, a standardized 4Rs+MTP coaching protocol, ongoing individual support meetings with an implementation support specialist, and ongoing staff developer group support meetings facilitated by an implementation specialist.
Research Design and Methods: This study uses a three-level (students, teachers/classrooms, schools) cluster randomized design with random assignment of schools to 4Rs+MTP or control conditions occurring in two cohorts of NYC elementary schools. Third and fourth grade teachers will be recruited at each school along with an estimated 80 percent of their respective third and fourth grade students. The study is designed to test both the direct effects of 4Rs+MTP on teachers, classrooms, and students, as well as important moderators of impact (gender, baseline levels of risk, school administrative support) and specific tests of mediation to verify the theory of change. Assessments occur in the fall and spring of the intervention year, and continuing third grade teachers with their new cohort of third grade students will again be assessed the following fall and spring.
Control Condition: Schools in the control condition will conduct standard instruction.
Key Measures: Teachers’ psychological processes are assessed using a variety of self-report measures (the MIDUS I Psychological Well-Being Scale, the Positive and Negative Affect Scale - PANAS, the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale (Short Form and the Maslach Burnout Inventory). Classrooms are assessed using the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS). Student outcomes in four domains are assessed: 1) social-cognitive processes (Hostile Attribution Bias, Aggressive Interpersonal Negotiation Strategies), 2) behavioral symptomatology (The Aggression Scale, Behavioral Assessment System for Children, the Social Competence Scale), 3) relational competence (the Student-Teacher Relationship Scale) and 4) literacy and academic skills (the New York State Standardized Reading and Math Assessments, items adapted from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort, and school records of attendance and discipline). Researcher-developed measures are used to assess variation in fidelity of training and coaching implementation and 4Rs lesson implementation, and teacher-reported and observation-rated measures of social and emotional learning practices in both intervention and control schools will be developed and used to assess the counterfactual and strength of the experimental contrast.
Data Analytic Strategy: For all analyses, teacher, classroom and student data from both cohorts will be combined. Researchers will use two-level models to determine impacts on teacher and classroom outcomes with random effects. The research team will use three-level models for student outcomes with random effects. Researchers will test moderators by adding interaction terms to the multilevel models.